Find your ideal cycling holiday
Greece - Northern Peloponnese
30th March 2019 - 14th April 2019 (16 days)
Literally ‘Isle of Pelops’, the Peloponnese is (or was until the Corinth canal opened in 1893) actually connected to the Greek mainland by the archetypal 'Isthmus'. The Idyllic coastlines of this 'Isle' contain lofty mountains, plunging gorges, medieval villages and such ancient sites as sporty Olympia, theatrical Epidavros and legendary Mycenae. All of these will be visited on this moderate, (2+) supported, moving-on tour, never riding further than 80km and averaging 65km per full day, with three half-days for sightseeing and one rest day.
April is probably the best month to visit the Northern Peloponnese, with weather similar to an English summer and stunning displays of spring flowers. Transfers between Athens Airport and from Corinth are included.
- Holiday Type Guided
- Tour Manager Christopher Juden
- Grade Moderate
- Booking Status Fully Booked
- Accommodation Hotel
- Board Basis Half Board
- Travel Arrangements Land Only
- Road / Off Road Road
- Holiday Style Moving-on
- Vehicle Support Full Vehicle Support
- Holiday Ref 01879
Saturday 30th March
Arrive in Athens and transfer by train to Vracháti (near Corinth). Stay 2 nights.
Sunday 31st March
Unpack bike then day ride via Corinth Canal. 45km (200m total ascent).
Monday 1st April
Cycle via the Gulf of Corinth to Diakofto. 67km (350m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Tuesday 2nd April
Uplift by scenic mountain railway to Kalavrita, then cycle 26km (540m total ascent) near Mt Helmos and Cave of the Lakes (optional visit) to Kleitoria. Stay 1 night.
Wednesday 3rd April
Cycle through mountains to Lámbia. 50km (1170m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Thursday 4th April
Cycle via Kládeos to Olympia. Free afternoon to visit Olympia. 40km (250m total ascent). Stay 1 night
Friday 5th April
Cycle through Arcadia to Dimitsána by the Lousios gorge. 72km (1730m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Saturday 6th April
Cycle via Stemnítsa and Chrysovitsi to the plains of Tripoli. 48km (730m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Sunday 7th April
Cycle down to the coast and around the bay to Náfplio. 77km (500m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Monday 8th April
Cycle via coast and mountains to Porto Cheli. 79km (1140m total ascent). Stay 2 nights.
Tuesday 9th April
Free day. Option of cycling (via ferry) around the island of Spétses. 35km (380m total ascent).
Wednesday 10th April
Cycle by Kranidi Bay and Gulf of Ydra to Poros. 60km (490m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Thursday 11th April
Cycle by coastal corniche to Nea Epidavros, then up to Koróni. 52km (860m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Friday 12th April
Free morning to visit Epidavros Theatre, then cycle to Mikínes. 41km (300m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Saturday 13th April
Free morning to visit Mycenae, then cycle via Old Nemea to Vracháti. 39km (340m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Sunday 14th April
Transfer to Athens airport (or city).
Accommodation & Meals
Accommodation will normally be shared by two people in an en-suite room in comfortable hotels (usually 3-star, up to 5-star). Availability of single rooms varies between the hotels. Please note that payment of the single supplement does not guarantee that you will never have to share.
Breakfasts and, except in Athens, evening meals are included, usually in the hotel, sometimes at a nearby taverna. Vegetarian and other special diets can usually be catered for, if noted under Special Requirements on the Booking Form. Those avoiding meat should indicate if they will eat fish.
During the tour the support vehicle will transfer luggage and, if necessary, a limited number of non-riders and their bikes to the next hotel, whilst providing occasional refreshment to the riders.
Passports, Visa & Health
EU citizens must hold a passport that is still valid on the date of their return to their home country. Holders of non-EU passports are advised to check whether they require a visa. There are no compulsory health related requirements for UK residents, but you are strongly advised to check that your tetanus protection has not expired. You must also carry your European Health Insurance Card.
Clause 7 of our Booking Conditions stipulates that, for holidays outside the UK, travel Insurance is mandatory. Details of the level of cover needed and other conditions you should check are stated in the Booking Conditions. CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours Ltd cannot accept responsibility for any costs that may be incurred due to insufficient insurance cover.
The price of £1,560 is based on a minimum number of 14 people taking part in the holiday and is calculated at a rate of 1.12 Euros to £1 sterling (based on exchange rates published on www.x-rates.com on 14 September 2018; please note Booking Conditions, clause 3). If there are insufficient bookings by 19th January 2019, we will contact you and return all monies paid.
- Transfers between Athens Airport and the start/finish of cycle-touring activities
- 15 nights hotel, sharing en-suite room, half-board
- Transport of luggage and cycle as necessary
- 'Odontotos' train ride up the Vouraikos gorge
- Entry to Olympia, Theatre of Epidavos and Mycenae
- Services of a local Greek guide and driver
- Topographic road map of the Peloponnese (by Anavasi 1:200k)
- GPS tracks and detailed route instructions
- CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours costs
Price Does Not Include
- Transport to and from Athens
- Drinks with evening meals
- Lunches or refreshments at morning and afternoon stops
- Entry fees at any attractions not mentioned above
- Any other personal expenses, fees, taxes and gratuities
- Travel insurance
- Single occupancy supplement (£360, subject to availability)
A deposit of £500 per person is payable upon booking, with the final balance of £1,060 per person to be paid ten weeks prior to departure, by 19th January 2019.
Should you be forced to cancel your booking for any reason you must notify us in writing. Maximum cancellation charges are as follows, though should the actual or likely unrecoverable expense of your cancelled place be less than this amount, the charge will be reduced accordingly:
Written notice received:
Before 19th January 2019
From 19th January 2019 through to departure
The Area Covered By The Holiday
The Peloponnese is shaped like an outstretched hand, on which this tour traces round the palm and thumb. It’s a rough old hand but the first couple of days stick to the flatter seaside with lovely views across the Gulf of Corinth to the equally mountainous mainland. Uplift by scenic rack railway avoids the next morning’s big climb to the interior, but you can ride if you prefer. Then there’s a small climb and long descent via pretty Cave of the Lakes (visit possible but not included). The next short, mountainous day passes the ruins of ancient Psophis, where Heracles captured the Erymanthian boar. Then it’s a short and mostly downhill half-day ride to the westernmost point of the tour: Olympia, the cradle of sport.
We are now in Arcadia, where delightful mountain scenery makes for a tough day of cycling to the next available hotel. situated in one of the medieval villages perched above the Lousios gorge, said to be where Zeus bathed as an infant. An easier day to the plain of Tripoli, then down to the Gulf of Argolis and pretty town of Nafplio.
We next explore the beautiful (but hilly) coastline of the Argolid, the ‘thumb’ of the Peloponnese, hopping on and off an island or two as we go. The final two days each begin with a morning of (optional) sightseeing and move on in the afternoon. The first visits the perfect classical theatre of Epidavros; the second at the ruins of Mycenae, already old and stuff of legend to the Ancient Greeks. The final afternoon passes the vineyards of Nemea before returning to Korinthia.
Rides & Rest Days
Although you will cycle most days, there’s also quite a lot of sightseeing, including three half-days at major historic sites and a spectacular train ride. The route uses a few main roads, but apart from near Corinth, Tripoli and Nafplio, they don’t carry heavy traffic. Mostly we’re on minor roads, almost all tarred, but not so well maintained. Be prepared for potholes and the occasional short stretch of gravel or dirt.
The group will be led at a moderate pace, using the ‘human signpost’ system to ensure that nobody misses a turn, with frequent stops for photos and refreshments.
Anyone who prefers to make their own way, aided by the GPS tracks and detailed instructions provided, will nevertheless be very welcome to do so.
Your main luggage will be transferred every moving day, by a van that will usually remain in occasional contact with the group and have seats for a few passengers. So you need to be sure that you are fit enough to undertake each day’s ride. You should be capable of a day ride of at least 90km (60 miles) in a hilly area (e.g. Peak District, Mid Wales) in order to enjoy this tour.
Accommodation & Meals
The hotel arrangements are fully described in the Holiday Summary, so here are a few notes on the sharing of rooms. We know there can be problems, which will be one reason regular participants tend to form touring twosomes with ‘the devil they know’! This unfortunately means that those who don’t apply as a twosome, may have Hobson’s choice of with whom to share. And ‘Hobson’ might be a snorer! So bring earplugs. And if you know you snore, please pay for a single room.
In the event of an odd number of men or women to share, one may sometimes be allocated a single room at no extra charge. Sharing three to a room may also be necessary, but rarely. In that case some mixing is inevitable, to be fair and ensure it isn’t always the same three.
Greeks aren’t big on breakfasts, traditionally topping up with a mid-morning pastry. Roll-on 11ses! Except there aren’t many bakeries in the mountains, so best keep some food handy. The hotels on this tour however, are mostly of the standard where one gets a reasonable spread.
Lunches are not included in the tour price. If the weather is fine our guide may nevertheless arrange a group picnic, buying (out of a group kitty) quantities of bread, cheese, ham, olives, yoghurts fruit… so we can make our own filled rolls etc. So you’ll need a knife, spoon and cup. If it’s wet our guide will try to find us a taverna and if lunchtime is sure to provide a number of eating places we’ll split up and forage for ourselves.
Dinners are traditionally late (another reason to stock up on snacks) but we’ll ensure they’re always before 9pm. We are all now reasonably familiar with the Greek salad, meze, taramosalata, giros and such dishes as moussaka. It will not be difficult for vegetarians, especially at this time of year. Nothing to do with spring vegetables, but because in the run up to Orthodox Easter (28th April 2019) believers observe a strict no animal products rule, and most tavernas offer at least one suitable dish.
Do not make any travel arrangements, only enquiries, before receiving confirmation that you have a place on this holiday and that it is running.
It is expected that most people will fly to Athens. Fortunately the Airport is linked directly to the Peloponnese by the new ‘Proastiakos’ Suburban railway line. So you can hop on a train with your bike and in 1h38min (with one easy change) be met by our support van at Zevgolatio station only a few km from our start/finish hotel.
The likely number of participants is 18 excluding the Tour Manager.
Weather & Clothing
April is an excellent time to visit the Peloponnese. It should be somewhat like an English summer, neither excessively hot nor cold. The sea will be too cold for swimming by Greek standards, but perhaps not by ours! Some of the hotels have pools, but only a few will be filled or heated before Easter.
Cycles & Equipment
A touring cycle, hybrid or lightweight ATB is suitable for this tour. You should ensure your cycle is well maintained, paying particular attention to wheels, tyres and brakes. A low bottom gear (e.g. small chainring the same size or smaller than the largest cog on your rear wheel) is recommended. If you are unsure about gears, please discuss with the Tour Manager. Mudguards are optional but show courtesy to those who are following you in wet weather. Lights are recommended but might not prove essential. New tyres are recommended of at least 28mm diameter. Participants will be expected to carry each day sufficient spares and tools to deal with punctures and minor repairs.
Should you prefer not to bring your own bike, our Greek agent has some available for hire. Prices are not yet announced for 2019, but for our Southern Peloponnese tour in 2018 the costs for two-weeks use were: Hybrid 280€, Road 310€, Electric Assist 490€. The bikes come equipped with cyclometer, pump, patch kit and water bottle. If you would like to hire one, please indicate the type and approximate size (L, M or S) under Special requests on the Booking Form.
Maps & Guides
A 1:200k topographic road map of the Peloponnese by Anavasi will be supplied.
Travel Insurance & Advice
In addition to travel insurance, EU nationals should carry a European Health Insurance Card, obtainable from www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/EHIC/. This enables you to take advantage of emergency medical services free or at a discount under a reciprocal provision that exists between EU member states. Your travel insurer may refuse to meet the extra costs of medical treatment if you do not carry this card.
Before booking you should check the latest travel advice from the Foreign Office ‘Travel Advice by Country’, including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice or on 0845 850 2829.